Synopsis of Making Better Babies
John Hockenberry moderates a scenario in which a couple learns that their baby could be born with serious genetic defects. Meredith Vieira and Lee Silver are asked to play the roles of prospective parents. On the advice of her physician, 35-year-old Meredith and her husband decide that the fetus should be tested for genetic abnormalities using amniocentesis. The test shows that the fetus has Turner's syndrome, which affects only females and causes short stature, infertility, and a greater risk of heart disease and diabetes. In a second scenario, the test gives a different result; it shows a chromosomal inversion, which translates into a 95 percent probability that the baby will be just fine—and a five percent chance of very severe disabilities. What should Meredith and Lee do? How can their decisions affect their lives and their families? What kind of guidance can they expect from doctors or genetic counselors? And what choices will advances in technology—embryo screening, even cloning—present to parents in the future?